Working in groups and teams
Working in groups and teams

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2.2.3 Outputs

Outcomes can be examined in terms of task performance, individual performance and other (incidental) outcomes.

Task performance. This may be judged on a number of criteria, such as quality of the formal outputs or objectives. In this case a product (the newsletter) and the time taken to perform the task are the criteria.

Individual outputs. These may include personal satisfaction and personal development and learning.

Other outcomes. These include transferable skills to apply in future to other teamwork. They include, for example, experience of effective teamwork and task-specific skills.

In general, it is always appropriate to evaluate outcomes. In this case you may need to think about:

  • Evaluating the newsletter itself. Was it well-received?
  • Evaluating individual outcomes. Have members developed transferable skills that they can take to new projects?
  • Evaluating other outcomes. Has the experience enhanced team members’ ability to work in a team?

Some output-related questions are set out in Box 4.

Box 4 Output-related questions

Has the team completed the task it was given?

Has it kept to cost and to time?

What has the team learned from this experience?

Should the team now be broken up or could it go on to another activity?

What have individuals learned from the experience?

Have members experienced an effective team?

Have any learning and development needs been identified? How can they be addressed?

Have members developed transferable teamworking and other skills?

Where can these skills be used in the organisation?

The open systems model of teamwork shows us how effective teamwork can offer benefits to organisations and staff. However, it also shows us that these benefits do not occur without effort and planning. Managers need to ensure that the right team is put together to perform a given task and that it is given appropriate tasks. They also need to secure the freedom, resources and support for the team to undertake the task. The model alerts managers to both the micro and the macro issues they will need to be aware of in managing effective teams.

Activity 2 Inputs, throughputs and outputs

Timing: Allow 40 minutes for this activity.

Using the notes you made, complete the following questions covering the inputs, throughputs and outputs (actual or anticipated) of your group or team. (You do not have to use the group or team you used in activity 1.) The group or team should be one that you manage or in which you participate or which you managed or participated in during the recent past. Use the input, throughput and outputs questions in section 2 to help you. You should be able to answer these questions, or make informed judgements, even if the group or team has not completed its task (or it is a permanent one).

The first purpose of this activity is to help you to consolidate your thinking to help you draw on past experience to inform present and future practice. The second purpose of the activity is for you to assess whether groups or teams operate in more or less the same way in organisations. You may wish to use the Comments section below to share your results with other OpenLearners.

Purpose of group or team

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Inputs

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Throughputs

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Outputs

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The particular success factors are/were

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Improvements could have been made in the following areas/processes

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Activity 2

Discussion

In carrying out these activities you probably found the questions in the text invaluable; however, you may have thought of other good and relevant questions.

The following sections will set out in more detail some of the inputs, throughputs and outputs, how to manage throughputs and how to review team progress and evaluate its performance when the task is complete.

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